Medical fitness facilities are beginning to take a huge part in the health care reform by offering integrated services with health care. These services are offered and guided by qualified professionals.

The fitness industry has grown with the increase of preventable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. There are more commercial gyms now than ever before, but are they staying within the guidelines of evidence based exercise? Medical exercise is the seamless integration of healthcare services, wellness and fitness programs to provide preventative and rehabilitative care to members, patients and the surrounding community.

There are several important differences between medical fitness facilities and other gyms. Medical fitness facilities are the next logical step in the continued care model and use evidence based practices to reduce unwanted variations. This means that all exercise programs designed by the staff follow techniques that are approved by medical professionals. At a medical fitness facility, the staff is qualified to teach sound techniques for improving one’s life quality.

Since medical fitness facilities are integrated with health care, they have many other resources at their disposal that other gyms simply cannot duplicate. It assures that the exercise specialist has a network of medical professionals such as doctors, dietitians and therapists that they can refer to if needed. It keeps them up to date in the health care industry and ensures the exercise prescription they give ties in seamlessly to the recommendations given by the health care professional.

This integration with healthcare calls for highly qualified fitness staffing. Medical fitness staff must be degreed and certified. With qualified staff, medical fitness facilities can focus on two aspects of community wellness: prevention of disease and management of disease. Unless a gym has a qualified staff that can work with special populations they should not be working with those with cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic diseases.

Medical fitness facilities are beginning to grow just as the fitness industry did; reassuring physicians that there are facilities that follow strict guidelines regarding exercise.

Nick Elisano is the General Manager of Cape Regional Miracles Fitness, Cape Regional Health System’s medically-based fitness center. For more information on any of their wellness programs call 609-886-7070 or visit them at their Rio Grande location.

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